Under the leadership of Chef/Partner Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio, Hawthorn offers New American cuisine with a significant nod to Chef Palazzo-Giorgio’s Mediterranean influences and Italian roots. The all-natural, locally-sourced menu features four courses of a la carte selections and is designed to please the most traditional to the most daring palates. The menu features a variety of pasta, seafood, beef and game dishes that will update seasonally and intra-seasonally.
Jason "Cass" Castle, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and Spirits (CSS), is also an Advanced level sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Prior to joining Hawthorn as General Manager/Partner/Advanced Sommelier, Castle gained extensive wine and restaurant management experience at several of Hawaii’s top restaurants. While launching his restaurant career at Indigo, a Euro-Asian restaurant in Honolulu, he simultaneously opened a beer-specialty house Bar 35 and Brasserie Du Vin, voted one of the top ten wine bars in America by Bon Appetit Magazine.
Along with renowned Chef Peter Merriman, one of the chef founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine (a culinary movement that blends Hawaii’s diverse, ethnic flavors with the cuisine of the world), Castle launched Merriman’s Restaurant, famous for its award-winning wine program.
Throughout his career, Castle has been an avid wine and beverage writer for a host of publications, including the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Pacific Edge Magazine. He has worked multiple wine harvests in California and France and has traveled throughout the wine world, in search of the perfect bottle.
Prior to moving to Houston, Castle most recently resided in Florence, Italy. He is scheduled to take the final Masters exam in July 2013, in hopes of becoming one of less than 200 Master Sommeliers in the world.
Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio, Chef and Partner at Hawthorn
Graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, is a classically trained chef who holds to the strong foundations of his training and his Italian family's standard of hospitality. His respect for ingredients is evident in the uncomplicated style with which he approaches his craft; purchase the highest quality ingredients, handle them minimally and allow them to speak for themselves.
Beginning his professional career at the Drake Hotel in Chicago in the once famed Cape Cod Room, he soon realized that through travel he would be exposed to more ideas, styles, cultures and techniques. After a stint at the Box Tree in New York City, he made his first journey to Europe, where he worked his way through Switzerland and Germany. He worked as chef for a private school for three years and then with a boutique hotel in Mönchengladbach, Germany. He continued his education in Italy with course hours in advanced pastry and pasta arts, receiving his certificate in 2007.